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Gordon's race plans depend on delivery date

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Jeff Gordon officially is on a baby watch.

Doctors have told the Nextel Cup points leader that his daughter, whose due date is June 29, could come at any time.

That has forced the four-time Cup champion to come up with several contingency plans for this weekend's road course race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

What I have had to do is assemble a lot of things that I never thought I'd be assembling, whether it's a stroller or whether it's a crib or I don't know what they call them -- those bouncy things. I'm reading directions left and right.

Jeff Gordon

Should the baby be born on Wednesday, Gordon will take a day and a half off before flying to Sonoma for Friday's qualifying. Should she be born on Friday he will return home immediately, let Mark Martin qualify the car and then likely return for the race on Sunday.

Should she be born on Saturday, he'll likely turn the car over to Martin, who is on standby as he takes a break in his part-time schedule with Ginn Racing, for the rest of the weekend.

And should she be born on Sunday during the race, he'll fly home immediately afterward.

"There's not a lot I can do about that, but I hope that doesn't happen," Gordon said last weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

Gordon will know more about his plans after a Tuesday evening visit to the doctor, where the topics will include inducing labor.

Unlike any other driver chasing a spot in the top 12, Gordon can afford to take a weekend off. He has a 264-point lead over second-place Denny Hamlin in the standings.

He also has four wins, which will give him an important 40 bonus points once the championship chase begins.

"It's just been an incredible year," Gordon said. "We have such a great team and we're having a lot of fun. We're going to the racetrack and we're competitive and all the guys are together. The chemistry is there and it's obvious. We're having a blast."

In many ways, it would be fitting if the baby comes this weekend. Gordon and his wife, Ingrid, announced their engagement at Infineon a year ago and Gordon went on to a record fifth win at the track.

Gordon also grew up not far from Sonoma in Vallejo, Calif.

"But this weekend could be even more special, and it won't even take a win to do that," he said.

The first pictures of the baby will be released on Gordon's Web site, www.jeffgordon.com. Gordon wants to avoid this becoming a big media event, like the births of other celebrity children.

"We want to enjoy this moment as much as we can and we're not focused on what kind of media blitz it's going to be," he said. "We're more focused on just being parents."

That includes getting comfortable with pink, one of the few colors missing from his No. 24 Chevrolet.

"I've had to succumb to lots of pink being around," Gordon said. "I haven't had to do any of the painting myself, fortunately. But we are definitely in full nursery mode.

"What I have had to do is assemble a lot of things that I never thought I'd be assembling, whether it's a stroller or whether it's a crib or I don't know what they call them -- those bouncy things. I'm reading directions left and right. We've got a little car, but no go-kart."

David Newton covers Nextel Cup racing for ESPN.com.